Some call it webtops, some call it WebOS. The purpose; to mimic the look, feel and functionality of a local computer contained within a web browser, fully accessible from any Internet-connected device. They are great because :
- you are always using the latest software
- you skip the necessary need to install updates or patches
- their hardware requirements are at a minimum
- https will safe guard your data from external interceptions
- No risk of getting laptop stolen
Below are 10 of the most notable web desktops of the moment.
You can synchronize your desktop environment to be easily with AjaxWindows’ wizard. Most of the applications found in the online desktop are from Ajax13, the creators of AjaxWindows. It is deadly similar to Windows, which makes it pretty easy for existing Windows users to navigate around. It is stable (though laggy when you open too many applications) and includes the synchronization feature which no one else has at the moment of writing. Some of the basic applications are :
- Word processor
- Drawing and presentation tools
- Media player
- Address book
- Instant messenger
- Desktop widgets
It uses Java and NX technology as it’s core engine. It’s free and it’s currently in it’s Beta stages. The GUI is more of a mixture of Linux and Windows. An account provides 1GB of remote storage space, with the option of buying additional space in increments of 1GB weekly. Main features at the time of writing are :
- Web browser – Epiphany
- Full featured email client – Evolution
- Microsoft Office™ compatible word processor – AbiWord
- Multi-protocol IM – GAIM
- Media player – VLC
- Photo editor – GIMP
- Password manager – Revelation
- Desktop searching – Meta Tracker
- Download manager – gwget
With more than 160, 000 active users since launching back in August 2006, DesktopTwo was built on PHP that enables it to drag and drop files. It’s free and open source. GUI is a mixture of Windows and Macinstosh. Some of the features available are :
- 1GB hard drive
- Email client
- Address book
- Website editor
- Blog enabled for blinkinblog or myblogtwo
- Instant messaging
- MP3 player
- Message boards
- RSS reader
- My SitesTwo (site bookmarking and sharing)
- DesktopTwo live chat
Exo Portal WebOS uses a 100% AJAX based interface resembling a desktop-like GUI and a Java backend to simulate a true WebOS that fits the Enterprise needs. Several mentionable features include :
- Widgets – Where administrators can provide small web components to notify users on the IT and business system states.
- Drag and Drop – Where anyone (according to the company policies) can easily add new applications into their page or into the pages of the group they have the responsibility on.
- Skins – where user can swap from custom corporate skins to classic eXo ones
- Easy to use wizards – Creation processes have been simplified thanks to wizards that takes the user by the hand to help him create new pages
EyeOS is an open source web operating system that is powered by AJAX. It is free and has the ability to develop new applications with the eyeOS toolkit. GUI is more Macintosh than others. eyeOS’s base applications include :
- editLink – Utility to edit system links
- eyeCalc – Widget, Basic Calculator
- eyeCalendar – Calendar Application
- eyeChess – Chess Game
- eyeContacts – Contacts Management Application
- eyeDocs – Word Processor, provides the ability of saving Word-compatible documents
- eyeFiles – File management tool. Includes many plugins for managing the files, such as Upload, Download, Download as Zip file, Copy, Paste, etc.
- eyeGroups – User Groups management tool
- eyeInstaller – Application to install eyePackages, individual packages for the system
- eyeMp3 – Mp3 player
- eyeNav – Integrated Web Browser
- eyeNotes – Text editor
- eyeProcess – Process Management application
- eyeRSS – Feed reader
- eyeSoft – Ports-based system, which comes by default with the official eyeOS repository
- eyeTrash – Recycle bin
- eyeZip – Utility to uncompress zip files that have been uploaded to the system
It’s core engine is Flash and it is a lot like Windows. A lot. A basic account gets 3GB free. Key features include :
- Integration with third-party web applications (Google Docs, ThinkFree, Meebo, Zoho)
- Mail/calendar/contacts programs
- Links to other internet resources (My Items)
- Desktop widgets (RSS reader, clock, weather)
- Multiple language support
Transmedia’s self proclaimed ‘first online OS’, Glide OS 2.0 lives in a collaborative ecosystem that is free for up to 2GB. Glide comes in 4 platforms, Glide Next, Glide Mobile, Glide Business and Glide Campus. Glide, which uses Flash, allows you to invite others to view and collaborate on presentations over email, IM or from the address book. Notable features :
- Glide Presenter – upload multiple images or audio/video files, stream large media files within presentations, save and serve presentations on any Windows, Mac or Linux machine, save presentations in Powerpoint or PDF.
- Glide Write – advanced document formatting and templates as well as the ability to post Glide Write documents not only to Glide Blogs but also to major third-party blogging services.
- Glide Spreadsheet – support powerful spreadsheet functions including advanced formulas and macros.
- Glide Online Photo Editor & Print Shop – over 75 filters, effects, and photo manipulation tools for online photo editing.
- Glide Mobile – support for the Motorola Q, Rim BlackBerry 8700c/g, T-Mobile SDA, Palm Treo 700p, Palm Treo 650, Samsung SPH-I730, O2 Xda IIs, Blackberry 7100 Series, Nokia S60/90, Sony Ericsson P900, HP iPAQ h6315, Kyocera 7135, Audiovox SMT560, Audiovox PPC 6600 Pocket PC, Motorola MPx220, Motorola V276 and the Motorola E815 EV-DO in addition to the already supported Palm Treo 700w, Sony Ericsson W600i and Motorola RAZR V3.
They thought it was funny and easier to remember, so they called it Goowy. In addition to that, Goowy sounds like GUI for graphical user interface, an area that Goowy strives to make a difference with it’s vibrancy and interactiveness. Allyou need is a flash enabled browser. Key features include :
- An instant messenger
- A powerful e-mail client
- Contacts & calendar applications
- Customized news feeds
- Minis (tiny specialized application providing easy access to frequently used functions)
- File storing capabilities
- File sharing
- Some fun games to relax
oDesktop comes with the ability to install the entire application on your own webhost, to make use of your hosting space. That is one feature that makes this application unique. The interface looks cool and simple enough to use. Product features include :
- oDrive – to safely upload and access files quickly and easily
- oPhoto – photo album application
- oMusic – upload, share, play and listen to mp3 songs directly
- oNetwork – to allow different web hosts to network or collaborate with all other oDesktop users.
- oEmail – a full functional email client
- oNews – news and RSS aggregator.
- oGames – during times of boredom and stress.
When comparing OOS to other webtops like YouSO or EyeOS it sticks in the eye that OOS seems to offer more functionality. Additionally the usability is quite good since it looks very similar to Windows. The site gives you 1 GB of space and your own domain name and address (www.username.oos.cc). After registering, OOS will give you a file manager, a system control panel, and utility programs like a text editor, image viewer, games, etc.
Made out of AJAX and PHP, Purefect is free and it gives users a Windows + Macinstosh like feel. Key features are :
- Web-based IDE
- Instant messenger
- File explorer
- Error console
- Address book
- Display settings
- Multiuser capabilities
This internet OS is XML based and is currently in closed Beta, meaning that you’d have to get manual approval when you apply for a Beta account. The XML is actually an abstraction layer that sits atop a true operating system like Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows, just as does Transmedia’s Flash-based Glide Next media sharing environment.
XIOS provides a substantial advantage over current Internet-based applications because XIOS handles server communications more efficiently and it makes better use of local computing power, rather than relying on servers in the cloud for heavy number crunching. The result is fewer client-server transactions, better use of bandwidth, and faster response time for the user.
Because XIOS was built from the ground up, it includes an answer to two of the most distressing computing issues today: collaboration and keeping files backed up and synchronized across multiple machines and operating systems. Its transaction engine can mirror local files in the cloud and distribute them to others, allowing users to collaborate on the same XML document. An IM chat client could be created with a mere dozen lines of code because the process of communicating was simply mirroring the text input entered into two XML documents in different places, a functionality built-into the system.
Xindesk uses AJAX and is a lot like Windows. It is free but users by invitation only. Features include :
- File manager
- Internet browser
- RSS support
- A free Xinmail account
- Support for 3rd party POP and IMAP4 accounts
- MS office support applications
- Address book
- Photo viewer
- IM with Jabber, AOL, MSN support
- Ability to share any type of file
Ranked 7th in PC World’s ’20 Most Innovative Products of 2006′, the free YouOS was first started in late December 2005 as an experimental, collaborative web operating system. Over 755 applications have been created using WebShaka’s (YouOS producer) own API since then. Notable applications include :
- FlickRSS – thumbnail flickr browser
- YouBrowser – web browser
- YouBuddy – buddy list application
- YouChat – local IRC application
- YouEditor – rich text editor
- YouFeeds – feed aggregator
- YouFiles – file manager
- YouFS Uploader – file upload application (uses Java)
- YouNES – NES emulator
- YouNiversalChat – universally translated chat room
- YouProc – processes manager
- YouShell – command line interpreter
- YouSticky – persistent sticky notes
- WhereWolf – web browser
Contains a comprehensive list of ‘on demand’ web applications for work and entertainment. They are :
- Zimwrite – word Processor, provides the ability of saving Word-compatible documents
- Zimsheet – spread Sheet, provides the ability of loading and saving Excel-compatible documents
- Zimmail – pOP3 based email system
- Zimcalc – full Scientific Calculator
- Zimreader – rSS Reader with favorites and feed management
- Zimnav – integrated Web Browser with favorites and useful links selection
- ZimIM – web messenger with access to the MSN, Yahoo, Gtalk, AIM (AOL), Gadu-Gadu, ICQ, IRC, and XMPP networks
- Zimearth – map application with access to Google, Yahoo and MSN maps.
- Zimradio – listen to some of the best streaming Internet radio stations.
- Zimmusic – upload and listen to your own MP3’s no matter where you are.
- Zimvideo – upload and share your video clips.
- ZimTV – watch streaming web TV from around the World.
- Zimcommunity – complete social networking system. completely inter grated into the desktop.
- Zimforum – forum, allows any zimdesk user to create there own group.
- Zimblog – complete blogging system available directly from the desktop and viewable by all users
- Zimdrive – file explorer and file management application